Obese dogs and cats in Northampton offered free weight-loss clinics

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The number of fat dogs and cats seen by a Northampton vet surgery has grown by 10 per cent in the last year

Staff at White Cross Vets in the Weston Favell Centre have seen the problem so often - almost 300 times last year - it is putting on free weight-management sessions.

Veterinary Surgeon Nishi Jani said: “Our whole profession is very concerned about the obesity pandemic facing the nations’ pets – and it’s not just dogs and cats. We see lots of overweight rabbits and other smaller pets too.

“In the majority of cases it is overfeeding and lack of exercise which is at the heart of the problem. Owners are usually innocently overfeeding through kindness and not giving their pets enough exercise.”

Obese pets face similar problems to overweight humans, including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Obesity also causes both physical and emotional distress and reduces life expectancy.

Research indicates that one in three dogs and one in four cats are overweight.

Campaigns to address the problem have included Dog Obesity Awareness Week, the PDSA’s annual Petfit competition and even a fitness video for dogs by Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.

White Cross staff are doing their bit inviting owners to bring their pets in for regular weigh-ins.

Owners are given easy-to-follow advice on how to tackle the problem from veterinary nurses.

They are also providing free samples of specialist weight reduction foods to help people kick-start their pets’ diets as well as help with tailored exercise programmes.